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Magic Vs. Wizards: Dwight Howard Thwarts Washington Comeback

We had all but written off the Wizards. And don't lie, you had too.

After trailing by 12 points at halftime while leading the Magic in some key statistics like rebounds and points in the paint, the Wizards got their act together early in the second half, and even pulled into the lead for the first time all game with 5:18 left in the third quarter. After some key plays from Dwight Howard, Orlando finished the third quarter leading by two points, but the damage was done and Washington was back in it.

Early in the fourth quarter, it was Nick Young who stole the show from the bench. Young had four straight baskets for the Wizards at one point as the home team took the lead. Young scored 17 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter.

Gilbert Arenas put in another strong performance for Washington while starting in place of the injured John Wall. Arenas had a team high and personal season high 31-points, including an impressive ability to get to the free throw line, where he went 12-14 shooting.

JaVale McGee was credited for some solid defensive work against Dwight Howard, but the big Orlando center still managed to lead all scorers with 32-points. His biggest points of the night came with just four seconds remaining in the game. With the Magic down by one point, Jameer Nelson drove into the lane and took a fadeaway jumpshot, drawing out McGee for a block attempt. The ball was short of the rim, and Howard knew it. The center grabbed the ball and took it back up for the score all in one smooth motion.

In the end, Arenas missed a last-second shot that would have won the game for Washington.

The Wizards may not have gotten the victory, but they sent a message to Eastern Conference foes. The Verizon Center is absolutely a tough place to play.